This Week in Eco News - November 1, 2013

Sandy's somber anniversary prompts photo essays and questions, a legalized poultry processing speedup with less official inspection could tragically affect public health - and animal welfare - and Greenpeace activists are discovering just how seriously Russia takes its Arctic oil interests. We also include some climate-related news and fun multimedia for your viewing pleasure! See a story we should share? Drop us a line at blog@gracelinks.org.

Best of the Web Video - Water

Superstorm Sandy: One Year Later - Struggles After Sandy in Broad Channel
Many coastal communities will be (or already are) feeling the effects of climate change. Residents of those often tight-knit towns will face tough decisions about whether or not to rebuild and may face high-priced or even no flood insurance.

Take Action: Find out whether or not you live in a flood zone and learn about flood preparedness at this goverment site.

Food

USDA Plan to Speed Up Poultry-processing Lines Could Increase Risk of Bird Abuse
A USDA proposal to allow poultry-processing plants to increase their line speeds - from 140 to 175 birds per minute - claims to boost efficiency and prevent contamination. But USDA inspectors and poultry experts say high speeds correlate with high rates of birds' inhumane treatment. Already, over 1 million birds are unintentionally boiled alive each year, a troubling portent if the proposal were to be adopted. [Washington Post]

Clowning Around with Charity: How McDonald's Exploits Philanthropy and Targets Children
A new report by Michele Simon exposes McDonald's misleading approach to charity and advertising. Spending less than 0.5% of its pre-tax profits on charity, less than the 1.01% most leading corporations donate, McDonald's benefits from its association with charitable efforts, such as Ronald McDonald House, and uses its philanthropic presence in schools to promote its brand. [Corporate Accountability International]

Pesticide Illness Triggers anti-Monsanto Protest in Argentina
Increased incidences of cancer and birth defects in Argentinian communities near industrial farms have led to protests by residents and a ruling punishing farmers for agrotoxin pollution. The main culprit, GM soy, is one of Argentina's biggest commodities, so the fight against associated pesticide abuse is not easy. [Deutsche Welle]

Leaked Documents Reveal the Secret Finances of a Pro-Industry Science Group
The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) claims that funding from corporate donors does not lead to bias in its research, but recent leaks reveal evidence to the contrary. ACSH not only accepts major contributions from companies interested in fracking, pesticide use and other questionable practices, they pitch to funders by targeting specific issues. [Mother Jones]

Report: Feeding Antibiotics to Livestock is Bad for Humans, but Congress Won't Stop It
Farm and pharmaceutical lobbies have made passing legislation to limit the use of antibiotics on industrial farms next to impossible, according to a John Hopkins report published last Tuesday. Although the FDA is against the use of nontherapeutic antibiotics, the agency (and Congress) have repeatedly bent under lobbyist pressure, preventing meaningful legislative and regulatory efforts. [Washington Post]

Meatless Monday

Healthy Chef Recipes for Meatless Mondays' 10th Anniversary
Mario Batali, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are among the celebrity chefs who have contributed recipes to a free, downloadable Meatless Monday Tenth Anniversary Cookbook (PDF). The simple, tasty offerings are bound to dress up your Monday dinners for years to come! [Epicurious]

Water

Hurricane Sandy's Lessons Include: Put Parks, Not Houses, On the Beach
Just prior to Hurricane Sandy's devastating landfall, scientists at CUNY Staten Island released accurate maps showing where storm flooding and damage would be most severe. Here is the scientists' five-point plan for storm mitigation: 1 ) Protect existing natural barriers; 2 ) Build higher; 3 ) Rezone flood zones to parkland; 4 ) Be wary of engineering fixes; 5 ) Teach hurricane survival. [Science Daily]

Environmental and Health Impacts of Antibacterial Soap
Common antibacterial chemicals, like triclosan, are abundant in the environment because of the proliferation of personal care and household products - of which three percent aren't removed by wastewater treatment, says a Johns Hopkins University study. When sewage sludge is reused as agricultural fertilizer, concentrates the chemical mass, which then contaminates surrounding waters. [EcoWatch]

Scientists Descending on Ontario to Get Grip on Most Vulnerable of Great Lakes
Lake Erie has problems. After years of improvements in its ecological health, trends point downwards, with the growth of terrible algae blooms and the invasion of ravenous Asian carp as prime examples. Scientists gathered at the University of Windsor, Ontario for Lake Erie Millennium Network talks in advance of a comprehensive study due out in 2014. [London Free Press]

Energy

Daylight Saving Time Ends: Does it Save Energy?
Don't forget to set your clocks back an hour before you go to sleep on Saturday night! The US adopted Daylight Saving Time during the two world wars to save energy, but in practice it only saves 0.03 percent of national electricity consumption each year. Still, the fact that DST saves Americans an estimated $130 million annually, plus gives us all an extra hour of precious sleep on a fall weekend, means it's not without its benefits. [Christian Science Monitor]

Activists Feel Powerful Wrath as Russia Guards Its Arctic Claims
The 30 Greenpeace members charged by the Russian government with "hooliganism" after their activism-at-sea at a Russian oil rig (the first of its kind to drill in the Arctic) now know just how seriously the country takes its sovereign right to exploit the up-for-grab region. The activists are being held in the far-north city of Murmansk; it could be months before a trial or formal legal proceedings. [New York Times]

City to Fit All Streetlights With Energy-Saving LED Bulbs
How many New Yorkers does it take to replace 250,000 lightbulbs? We have no idea, but the city announced a huge retrofitting project in which it will replace all of its streetlights with brighter LED fixtures. LED's last for 20 years and once the project is completed, the city expects to save $14 million a year in energy and maintenance costs. [New York Times]

Power Plants Double as Nuke Waste Dumps
Because there's no central depository for nuclear power plant waste - Yucca Mountain isn't storing any waste anytime soon - plants in 30 states are doubling as dumps for spent fuel that remains dangerous for thousands of years. About 71 percent of the nation's spent fuel now remains in cooling pools at nuclear plants, sometimes even at closed plants. [Journal Sentinel]

Climate

Fallowing Farmland: A New Card in Arizona's Water Shuffle
Like California's 35-year-old farm-fallowing program, some test-farmers in southwest Arizona will see whether direct payments to idle some acreage - thus avoiding irrigation water - will succeed. Water saved will go to Phoenix's thirsty Sun Corridor metro region, with an expected 50 percent population increase, and could be the precursor of a water transfer market. [Circle of Blue]

Has the EPA Given Up on Clean Water?
New EPA chief Gina McCarthy published the agency's game plan regarding water issues in the United States after taking office. Unfortunately, it looks rather anemic considering the tremendous environmental and human health problems that confront the nation; here, an author recommends pushing the Obama administration to act. [Earthdesk]

How Shell, Chevron and Coke Tackle the Energy-Water-Food Nexus
Big multinationals see the writing on the wall when it comes to growing demands on global food, water and energy resources. So three of the biggest corporations are investing in technologies like wastewater reuse, drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting. How these technologies - and the corporations themselves - benefit the long-term health of surrounding communities is the big question. [GreenBiz]

Multimedia

Aerial Photos of Hurricane Sandy Damage from NOAA's National Geodetic Survey
Google Earth images show images in the Northeast before Sandy; NOAA's satellite images show what we saw after. As you know (or may too-vividly remember), some places got hit pretty hard - check out the New Jersey shore photos. [NOAA]

12 Ways to Avoid Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals in Everyday Products
A new list by the Environmental Working Group and the Keep A Breast Foundation identifies some of the most problematic hormone-altering, endocrine disrupting, chemicals to which people are routinely exposed, and most importantly, how to avoid them. [Environmental Working Group]

Fracking: Before and After
This photo collection shows some examples of how shale-gas activity affects the landscape. Images from Google Earth show certain locations in 2010 (before fracking) and 2011 and 2012 (during, and in some cases after, fracking). [Alert Earth]

Images: Mountain Town Cut Off By Flooding
Last month, flash floods in Colorado cut off the mountain town of Lyons for several days. Darmouth Flood Observatory director G.R. Brakenridge lives in Lyons and took pictures during the flooding. [LiveScience]

Toilets of the World Quiz
This is an unusual way of raising awareness about water infrastructure. With this unique quiz, wherein you identify the location of the toilet pictured, you can see how the other half...lives. See how many you can get right. [us vs th3m]

Food Eco News contributed by Audrey Jenkins.

Responses to "This Week in Eco News - November 1, 2013"

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